Searching for Sugar Man reveals the story of a singer in the 1970’s who was destined to become a rock legend but vanished for over 40 years.
The story of Sixto Rodriguez begins in the 1960’s when two producers saw him play in a Detroit bar. After signing him to Motown Records and making a couple of albums that didn’t sell, the artist then disappears into obscurity with rumors he committed suicide.
So why after 40 years would someone make a documentary about the rock icon who never was?
Well, it turns out that on the other side of the world in South Africa, Rodriguez had become as big as Elvis Presley. He had no idea of his musical success overseas, never receiving a single dollar in royalties while spending his years doing hard labor and raising three kids in a house he won at government auction for $50.
It wasn’t until the 1990s when two of his biggest fans in South Africa wanted to find out if the rumors of his suicide were real and discovered he was still alive and still living in Detroit.
Filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul wanted to document their efforts, and the documentary Searching for Sugar Man was created, going on to win an Academy Award and resurrecting Sixto Rodriguez’s musical career